This blew me away.
Being a fair-minded guy, I wanted to stress that not everyone in the working media lacks perspective. You know that one headline from this morning that I cited and dissected in my previous post? I was going to confess it was a bit of an outlier, and that for every guy like that one, there’s a sensible soul such as Frank Bruni, whose column this morning made the same point I did:
Yes, Bernie Sanders won the state’s primary on Tuesday night. And that victory, coming on the heels of his functional tie with Pete Buttigieg in the dysfunctional Iowa caucuses last week, makes him the indisputable front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
But look at how closely behind him Buttigieg finished, despite furious attacks from Sanders and other rivals over recent days. Look at the sudden surge of Amy Klobuchar, whose strong third-place finish demonstrates not only how unsettled the contest is but also how many Democrats crave a moderate — or female — alternative to Sanders.
Note that while Sanders is hugely well known in New Hampshire and beat Hillary Clinton by 22 points in its Democratic primary in 2016, he squeaked by Buttigieg this time around, as many people who voted for him four years ago obviously didn’t do so on Tuesday night.
And so forth. The real story being the inability of moderates thus far to settle on ONE candidate.
But before adding that, I decided to check my email, and saw an enewsletter from that same, sensible Frank Bruni, and the headline was “What in God’s name happened to Joe Biden?”
OK, fine. Yes, it would have been better had Joe been on the top of the stack of moderates rather than the bottom in New Hampshire, but still — I’m still in a good mood from Joe’s rally at 701 Whaley last night.
And then I saw the picture that ran with the eblast, and my jaw dropped.
I was there. I saw Joe and how he conducted himself. He was as upbeat and ebullient as ever. In fact, if I can ever get the freaking thing to upload to YouTube, I’ll show you every second that he was at the podium, and challenge you to find the split-second reflected in that photo above, in which he seems to be delivering a concession speech with a crushed spirit.
Until I can get that up and running (and finally, here it is), here are some representative images:
Tonight, @JoeBiden did a great job in front of of a fired-up, enthusiastic crowd. This race starts NOW… pic.twitter.com/Fpi7bHl7IE
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) February 12, 2020
You can almost always get a picture like that NYT one. You can play a fun game if you use the “burst” function on your phone (akin to the motordrive of old film cameras), and you’ll see all sorts of expressions flash across a person’s face, some of them quite comical and many of them highly misleading as to the person’s emotional state at the time.
But this one is a prize-winner. And I’m shocked that it was used by the NYT, even in an email…
Dang! I was going to illustrate this statement: “You can play a fun game if you use the “burst” function on your phone (akin to the motordrive of old film cameras), and you’ll see all sorts of expressions flash across a person’s face…”
With a post I thought wrote 14 or 15 years ago. It was about the hilarious results I got from using the “motor drive” function on a digital camera in an interview with Andre Bauer.
I used to use that function a lot so I could get at least ONE decent image from a key point in the interview. It’s hard to hit the shutter at the precise micro-instant that best captures what’s happening, so the burst thing can be handy.
But some people’s faces are just WAY more mobile than other people’s. And Andre is one of the more mobile ones. You see all sorts of expressions — some of them comical — that you wouldn’t notice in real life because they are too fleeting.
I guess I decided it just wouldn’t be fair to Andre (just as the NYT image above isn’t fair to Joe), and didn’t post it. But I remember intending to…
As I say, Bruni is a sensible guy, and many will consider this passage to be evidence of that:
But I respond, Yes, you can.
Sensible as he is, he’s ignoring something that too many people ignore: Winning a primary, or the nomination of a party, is very different from winning a general election. Way, WAY too often (in the view of this antipartisan), the very qualities that endear you to a party make you a lousy general election candidate.
… which is something I thought everyone understood these days, since we hear so much about Democrats being torn between the candidate who tickles their ideological fancy and a candidate who can beat Trump. (Actually, that is a very promising development in our politics, because too often partisans don’t give a flip about that distinction.)
I just thought I’d point that out…
You can’t persuasively say that you’re the strongest foe for Donald Trump if you’re so weak against your Democratic adversaries….
But I respond, Yes, you can.
Uh, no. Besides, the point is pretty moot if you can’t win the nomination. So yes it can’t be persuasively demonstrated since its an impossibility to test. People were saying last time around that Bernie would have made a better candidate against Trump than Hillary. There was actually some polling to support that. But when you’re coming in 5th after devoting considerable attention to a contest the “Biden is the most electable” argument is just plain sad. Sort of like arguing for a flat earth.
But to your bigger point maybe Biden does pull it out in SC and get back in the game. But for the time being he’s gone from favorite to longshot even here. Hopefully he’ll finish 3rd or worse and we won’t have Joe Biden to kick around anymore. And perhaps we can also say goodbye to the odious post war liberal order nonsense. Time for the cold war to come to an end.
The Cold War did come to an end, thanks largely to the policies of the liberal world order that you call “odious.”
It has also kept us out of a World War III, so… you’re welcome…
Bruni said something really true here:
You betcha. And that’s why I’m wholeheartedly for Joe, because that is precisely what this country needs. After we restore integrity in our institutions, I’m ready to listen to your big plans for change. But what need right now is:
— A president who values and honors honest, dedicated people in our government like Lt. Col. Vindman.
— Beyond that, a president who staffs the White House with qualified people who care about public service, rather than a rogues’ gallery of sycophants.
— A president who doesn’t intervene in a criminal case against his friend, undermining the rule of law itself.
— A president who wouldn’t corrupt the US Senate, converting it to toadies whose only interest is protecting HIM.
— A president who would give a damn about U.S. servicepeople who were injured in the attacks by Iran, instead of scoffing at their “headaches.”
And those are just considerations from the past week or so…
Those are matters of restoration. They are HUGELY important, if our great national experiment in liberal democracy is to survive and not collapse from rot within.
And they are all matters of RESTORATION, and they are all things Joe Biden can deliver, and would make priorities. We have to restore the basic decency we used to expect, before we can accomplish anything else in this country….